Industry News >Unified Communications >

2016 Predictions: The Year of the UC Lightweights

January 26, 2016 by Michelle Tremblay

Step aside, hardware heavyweightsthere’s a new champion in town

Muhammad Ali might have famously coined the phrase “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee,” but not often do we hear it applied to the future of unified communications.

Without taking off the proverbial gloves, the market “boxing ring” has grown to support new dynamics in unified communications. Explosive growth and increased cloud adoption have pushed providers into two categories: the hardware heavyweights and software lightweights.

For UC to have greatest impact, companies have recognized the need to evolve—some more successfully than others—to be more agile and consumer-friendly; this is a prerequisite of sorts for giving today’s increasingly mobile workforce what it wants. And in this new age, the nimble lightweight knocks out the competition again and again, with software-based solutions that can grow with businesses in a way that echoes the user experience of their tech-savvy “always on” workforce.

Float Like a Butterfly

Legacy systems are dubbed “legacy” for good reason: they’ve been the standard and held the upper hand for too long, earning stature only because of their existing foothold in communications systems. Today, however, companies realize that massive hardware installations are not only costly, but also short-sighted. These days, companies are thinking lighter—floating up to the promise of the cloud.

Businesses are adapting as consumer preferences are applied: first, consumers decide that landlines are no longer necessary. They’re cutting the cord on traditional cable TV; they’re making multi-screen engagement routine; they’re saving and sharing and experiencing across vast networks with recipients in communities large and small. Individuals are empowered by on-demand options, be it within the palm of their hand or through desktop experiences customized to match their behavior and guided by applications. This is common knowledge to us, first as everyday consumers.

Everyday consumers, meet the modern workplace. For too long, UX has been disjointed as employees transition from work to home. With work and life worlds blending, so too are user expectations for communications tools: you may be reading this from your smartphone on the commute to work, wanting to save it or share it with a coworker for later comment or discussion. You may be encouraged to work from home or a shared workspace of preference to get the creative juices flowing. You might want to update a task or create a voice memo while you’re cooking dinner; great ideas take shape at any time of day, well beyond the traditional 9 to 5. These scenarios paint the picture of the modern workforce and all its potential by enabling employees to directly tap into their work tools as a natural extension of their personal technology.

To do these things, the office hardware-centric model must adapt. In the world of software-based lightweights, the way employees enjoy play and leisure can be applied to the way they do work. Better work. Their best work. When keeping end user preferences in mind—including a shift to mobile and cloud-based platforms—companies are committing to bringing their best into the ring for their employees.

What risks will companies that don’t rally behind lightweight face in the future? Stop by again later this week for the rest of the story in part two of our 2016 market predictions blog series.

Michelle Tremblay
Michelle Tremblay

Marketer by trade and grammar geek by nature, Michelle is lucky enough to apply her love for language within a fast-growing technology market. Thriving most when behind the scenes, she creates, edits, and organizes content at Fuze (formerly ThinkingPhones) for various global communications. Michelle is a New Hampshire native and current resident of Somerville, MA who enjoys hockey, indie rock music, strong coffee, yoga, and thrift shopping.

Read more from this author
Subscribe to Fuze's Newsletter